08/29/13 12:15pm
08/29/2013 12:15 PM
GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Jackie Spinella may become the first girl to try out for Bishop McGann-Mercy's football team, according to coach Jeff Doroski.

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Jackie Spinella may become the first girl to try out for Bishop McGann-Mercy’s football team, according to coach Jeff Doroski.

Jackie Spinella seemed a little uncomfortable by all the attention. Asked if she felt like a trailblazer, she laughed. “I don’t know, I guess,” she said.

The truth is, it’s much simpler to Spinella than breaking a gender barrier. The Riverhead girl just wants to try playing football. Nothing more, nothing less.

Spinella, an incoming senior at Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School, said she enjoys watching the sport as a spectator on television or in the stands. Now, however, see is seeing football from a perspective that few girls ever do: as a player.

Spinella is trying out for the McGann-Mercy football team as an offensive lineman. She is the first girl in the school’s history to come out for football, according to coach Jeff Doroski, who played for the Monarchs himself in the 1990s.

“I kind of wanted to get the experience, so why not?” she said. “I don’t see a reason why a girl can’t” play football.

Spinella, who has a background in basketball, softball, and track and field, first approached Doroski this past winter about coming out for the team. Doroski said he asked her if she was sure, she said she was, and he told her she would need clearance from her parents, the athletic director, Section XI, the school doctor and undergo physical tests. Players heard talk in the spring that Spinella was going to come out for the team. When they saw her in the weight room, working out with them, they knew it was more than talk.

By the first preseason practice, Spinella was alongside the other players, ready to sweat through two-a-day practices and prove her courage, not only of the physical kind. She also had to have the courage to be the only girl in training camp, a one-girl team within a team. On top of that, her previous football experience was nil.

That can be scary for anyone.

“I’m nervous every day,” Spinella chuckled one morning last week after participating in the team’s sixth practice in four days. “Every day I try and tell myself: ‘Just pull yourself together and work at it. You can do it, you can make it.’ ”

Doroski said that knowing the type of person that Spinella is, he knew from the start that this wasn’t a gimmick or a publicity stunt. His players soon discovered that as well, watching her do every drill they did.

“She’s hitting as hard as us,” said Colin Ratsey, a senior lineman. He added: “She’ll get knocked down. She’s just like any other guy. She gets right back up, no problems. She’s got to prove herself out on the field, and she did, definitely, so far.”

Doroski has continually offered his encouragement. He said Spinella does not receive special treatment and is viewed as just another one of the players.

“She’s been very committed, and she stepped up to the challenge,” he said. “She hasn’t asked out of any drill. She hasn’t asked out of any conditioning. She’s done everything the guys have done.”

“I think our guys have just accepted her as being a part of the team,” he continued. “… She’s earned the respect by what she’s done.”

Pat Rossi, a senior who plays middle linebacker and guard, said his teammates have been supportive of Spinella.

“We encourage her, but at the same time, we don’t give her any special treatment,” he said. “She’s out there, she’s with us, she’s doing all the same things we’re doing. She’s one of us.”

Little boys are taught at a young age not to hit a girl. That is an inclination the boys on the team have had to overcome during drills. Rossi said players may have been reticent about hitting Spinella too hard in the first days of practice, but after a while they tend to forget that she is a girl. Football is a fast-moving game, with helmets, pads and uniform numbers flashing by in an instant, with little or no time to determine who is hitting who.

Last Thursday morning the linemen went through one-on-one contact drills. “I got knocked down a few times,” Spinella said. “It’s going to happen a lot.”

Spinella, who is the school’s Student Organization president, has naturally drawn curiosity from friends, who ask her what practice is like. She tells them it’s hard.

“I’m not going to lie and say it’s easy, because I think it’s really hard,” she said. She added: “It’s a different experience. I never dealt with something like this before. It’s really different.”

Doroski said Spinella has done a “great job” on the field. “This would be tough for anybody,” he said. “To come in and do what she has done up to this point, I give her a lot of credit.

“My thing to her is I said: ‘Stick with it. It’s hard. This is really the toughest part of football. You got to get through these next two weeks. You made it this far, you might as well keep it going.’ ”

The mental part of the game is no breeze, either, especially for a newcomer who has to learn a new language with football terms like inside zones, boots and waggles. Even so, Doroski said Spinella is ahead of some other players in her understanding of schemes and Xs and Os.

When the prospect was raised of her being in uniform for the team’s season opener on Sept. 12 at Shoreham-Wading River, Spinella’s eyes lit up.

“Being there, just like in itself, I think that [would be] awesome,” she said. “Even if I’m not playing, I think supporting the team is awesome in itself.”

If things continue the way they have been going, it sounds as if there is a good chance that Spinella will be wearing a helmet and pads that day.

“She’s going to wear a uniform,” Doroski said. “She’ll be part of our program. You know, obviously, I’m not going to put her on the field just to put her on the field. I’m not going to use it as a gimmick. She’s going to have to earn the right to go out there and play just like the rest of our guys, and if we have opportunities, and she earns the right, and we can get her in some situations, sure, I’m going to do that.”

When the school year starts, it seems likely that Spinella will become the talk of the school, the girl who plays football. With that may come a mini-celebrity status, but it is not something she is looking for.

“I don’t really think it’s that big of a deal,” she said. “I think maybe it will be something for a week or two and then it will die down, hopefully.”

bliepa@timesreview.com

08/21/13 7:00pm
08/21/2013 7:00 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Colin Ratsey (6-foot-4, 273 pounds) is Bishop McGann-Mercy's largest player and a big piece of the Monarchs' line.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Colin Ratsey (6-foot-4, 273 pounds) is Bishop McGann-Mercy’s largest player and a big piece of the Monarchs’ line.

One doesn’t have to think too hard to imagine what football coach Jeff Doroski must have been thinking when he saw the hulking figure of Colin Ratsey walking through the hallways of Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School several years ago. And one need not imagine what Doroski’s response was when he learned that Ratsey was a golfer, of all things.

Doroski recalled: “I was like, ‘Golf? What are you doing? Golf?’ ”

Then Doroski went on to convince Ratsey that he has the rest of his life to play golf, but only a few more years to play football for McGann-Mercy. He got his recruit.

Years later, that recruiting pitch seems more important than ever now that Ratsey assumes valuable places on both the offensive and defensive lines for the Monarchs. At 6-feet-4, 273 pounds, the senior is the biggest player on the team, and big things are being asked of him this year.
He is also a big piece of the puzzle. It is considered vital that Ratsey, who aside from senior Pat Marelli, is the team’s only returning lineman, does well this year.

“Has to,” said Doroski.

McGann-Mercy lost some good linemen from last year’s playoff team in Ray Ellis, Chris Motlenski and Jack Strnad. That means a new line with a revamped role for Ratsey.

“Everybody knows he can do it, but he has to show it now,” said Marelli.

Ratsey started all but one game last year for the Monarchs, playing guard and defensive tackle. It’s up in the air where exactly he will play on the lines this year. Marelli will play center and middle linebacker. “With the zone blocking scheme, it’s pretty much the same no matter where you are in those five positions up front,” said Doroski.

And it sounds as if it doesn’t make much of a difference to Ratsey, either. “Wherever they need me, I’ll block, and wherever they need me on defense, you know, I’ll get through the line and do the best I can,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll have a great season.”

That is what the Monarchs are counting on. It goes without saying that backs and receivers get most of the attention and acclaim, but linemen may have more to do with wins and losses than anyone else on the field.

“We’re excited about what he’s capable of doing for us this year,” Doroski said. “He’s got good feet. He can move around pretty good. He’s not one of those slow, lumbering big guys. He can move around pretty good for a big guy. This has the potential to be a very good year for him, and if it is, it’s going to make us that much better.”

So far, outside linebacker/fullback Luis Cintron likes what he has seen from Ratsey. “He’s looking great,” said Cintron.

Ratsey, who lives in Greenport, has attended Catholic schools his whole life. He had played four years for the Peconic Panthers youth football program and is familiar with the current players on the Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island team. “I know the whole team,” he said. “They always smack talk, but I’m not worried about it.”

Ratsey has twice played against the Porters. The thought has undoubtedly crossed his mind that under different circumstances he could very well be on the other side of the line wearing different colors. This year the teams aren’t scheduled to play each other, but Ratsey looks forward to meeting his hometown buddies in a scrimmage.

Ironically, a former McGann-Mercy linemen, senior Owen Finnigan, has joined the Porters this summer.

Thanks to that fateful hallway meeting with Doroski, Ratsey’s athletic course changed as he embraced football.

“Right away I loved it,” he said. “Now it’s my passion.”

Golf will have to wait.

bliepa@timesreview.com

08/20/13 12:15am
08/20/2013 12:15 AM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Pat Marelli recorded a team-=leading 76 tackles (eight for a loss) last season.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Pat Marelli recorded a team-leading 76 tackles (eight for a loss) last season for Bishop McGann-Mercy.

Bishop McGann-Mercy has been a perennial underdog. But can a football team remain an underdog after winning a playoff game, reaching the Suffolk County Division IV semifinals and turning in its best season in decades? Has that underdog tag been shed?

Those questions remain to be answered, but, if nothing else, coach Jeff Doroski has noticed an attitudinal change in his team.

“We have a great respect for the teams that we’re going to compete against, but we’re not going to back down from anybody,” he said. “We’re going to go out there and we’re going to compete, and we’re going to put our best foot forward every game.”

It sounds like something one would hear from a confident team, and if the Monarchs gained a measure of confidence from what they did last year, it would be understandable.

Seeded 12th in a preseason coaches poll before last season, McGann-Mercy bucked the odds, posted its first playoff win since 1991 (a last-second thriller over Hampton Bays), ending up with a 7-3 record. It was their highest single-season win total since 1978.

“I feel like when I’m older I’m going to exaggerate it to like we won the states or something,” said Pat Marelli, the senior center/middle linebacker who had a team-leading 76 tackles (eight for a loss) to go with a sack in 2012. “It was awesome to be a part of that.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Luis Cintron said a tougher schedule puts greater pressure on Bishop McGann-Mercy, but it's nothing the Monarchs can't handle.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Luis Cintron said a tougher schedule puts greater pressure on Bishop McGann-Mercy, but it’s nothing the Monarchs can’t handle.

Reggie Archer, an all-county junior who ran for 1,088 yards and six touchdowns, said, “In a way, I guess you could say we surprised ourselves a little bit, but we always believed in ourselves.”

McGann-Mercy’s reward for that is a No. 6 seed this year in the 14-team division. Along with that ranking comes a considerably tougher schedule that includes games against the top four seeds: defending Long Island champion Babylon, Mount Sinai, Shoreham-Wading River and Elwood/John Glenn. As if that isn’t enough, “the other four games that we have aren’t easy, gimme games,” said Doroski, referring to dates with Center Moriches, Wyandanch, East Hampton/Bridgehampton and Southampton.

“It’s a tough schedule,” Doroski said. “We know we have our work cut out for us, but we’re excited about that. We want to have the opportunity to prove last year wasn’t a fluke.”

Doroski said he told his players it’s as if they have been moved up from the kids’ table to the grown-ups’ dinner table. But, far from shying away, the Monarchs say they welcome the challenge and understand the task that lays before them.

“They know the level of difficulty that it’s going to be,” said Luis Cintron, a senior who plays outside linebacker and fullback. He said, “There’s a lot of pressure,” but quickly asserted that it’s nothing the team can’t handle.

Aside from the schedule, there are other issues to be faced, like dealing with the loss of 11 graduated players, six of whom were two-way starters. Furthermore, in McGann-Mercy’s first two preseason practices on Monday, senior quarterback Asaiah Wilson, who had joined the team as a transfer from Longwood last year, wasn’t present. Doroski said he still didn’t know if Wilson, a major contributor to the team’s fortunes, would be rejoining the team or not, leaving things in a strange limbo.

Meanwhile, the Monarchs have no choice but to operate as if Wilson will not be on the team. “If he’s not here, obviously we’ll miss the production, but we’re prepared to move forward,” said Doroski.

In the meantime, the ball is being placed in the hands of sophomore quarterback K. J. Santacroce.

Paul Annunziata, a cornerback/running back, and linemen Colin Ratsey and Andrew Glasgow are also being counted on for production.

The Monarchs have what Doroski said is a first, a girl trying out for the team. Jackie Spinella, a senior, plays the offensive line.

“It’s a bunch of hard workers, I can tell you right now,” Cintron said. “We’re on a mission this year.”

Doroski said he told his departing seniors after last season that what they achieved can never be taken away from them. “That’s something they’ll have with them for the rest of their lives,” he said.

Referring to his current players, the coach said: “My question to them, moving forward, is, what’s going to be your legacy? What memory are you going to make in Mercy football?”

More questions to be answered in the coming months.

bliepa@timesreview.com

02/03/13 5:00pm
02/03/2013 5:00 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The Riverhead News-Review People of the Year (clockwise from top): Civic person Georgete Keller, Educator Jeff Doroski, Overall POY Denise Lucas, Business person Rich Stabile and Public servant Ed Romaine.

The Riverhead News-Review held its annual People of the Year reception this week, honoring those who were selected in our first issue of the new year.

You can read more about our 2012 People of the Year by clicking on the links below:

Person of the Year: Denise Lucas

Public Servant of the Year: Ed Romaine

Educator of the Year: Jeff Doroski

Business Person of the Year: Rich Stabile

Civic Person of the Year: Georgette Keller

01/04/13 9:00am
01/04/2013 9:00 AM
McGann-Mercy High School, Riverhead, Mercy football, Jeff Doroski

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | McGann-Mercy football coache and teacher Jeff Doroski.

During the pregame huddle before an early season game this fall, McGann-Mercy football coach Jeff Doroski gathered his players to deliver a message. Before him stood a group of players expected to finish near the bottom of Division IV — an all-too-familar destination for the Monarchs.

We’ve been down for a long time, Mr. Doroski told his team. No one believes Mercy is a team that can contend.

And Mr. Doroski posed a question to his team: Why not us?

Believe in your teammates, he said. Believe in your coaches. Trust the hard work you’ve put in.

“You get chills when you hear him speak sometimes,” said Phil Reed, an assistant coach at Mercy. “You feel like you want to put on a uniform and go out and play for him. I don’t know how he does it, but he just comes up with these things.”

Under Doroski’s leadership, in only his second season as Mercy’s head coach, the Monarchs surged to their most memorable fall in three decades, posting seven wins, advancing to the semifinals of the Division IV playoffs and captivating the close-knit Riverhead school.

For his efforts in turning Mercy’s football program around, while also working as a well-respected health and physical education teacher and volunteering his time at a bevy of school functions, the News-Review selected Mr. Doroski as its 2012 Educator of the Year.

McGann-Mercy is a second home for Mr. Doroski. His parents both attended Mercy. So did his wife. As a high school student, he was the featured running back for the Monarchs. After graduating in 1992 he owned the single-season and career rushing records.

It was back when Mr. Doroski carried the ball for Mercy that the Monarchs last had a season comparable to this year. When the Monarchs won an epic 22-21 playoff game over Hampton Bays in November, it was the first postseason win for the program since 1991. The seven wins matched their best season since 1978.

“He’s a big part of continuing the tradition of excellence at Mercy because he’s been through it,” said athletic director John Lonardo. “He’s very aware of that and that’s something he really brings to the kids and reinforces to the kids about what McGann-Mercy stands for and the tradition of McGann-Mercy.”

In addition to coaching the varsity football team, Mr. Doroski, 38, also coaches the junior varsity baseball team in the spring. When it comes to baseball, he is a bit of a legend. In 2003 he coached the varsity team to a state championship, the only state title for any team in Mercy history.

No matter the time of year, Mr. Doroski, who lives in Riverhead, can be spotted at Mercy long after the school day has ended. In the winter he works the scoreboard during basketball games. He also monitors the weight room.

“Jeff has an outstanding rapport with the students,” Mr. Lonardo said. “He’s extremely liked. He communicates very well with the kids. He’s extremely motivational. The kids not only enjoy his classes, but they enjoy playing for him.”

When Mr. Doroski became the varsity football head coach, numbers were dwindling in the program. Former athletic director Paula Nickerson said in 2011 that it was a “miracle” the program survived during some of the leanest years.

Mr. Doroski helped rejuvenate interest in football and this past season the Monarchs had the kind of depth that allowed them to not only stay competitive, but excel.

“You could see from day one when he took over the program that the kids responded to him,” Phil Reed said. “The way he wanted to set the program up and it’s grown from leaps and bounds from when he started.”

As a teacher in a small school, Mr. Doroski gets an opportunity to work with many of his athletes in the classroom as well. Asaiah Wilson, the football team’s junior quarterback, had Mr. Doroski as a health teacher last year and as a gym teacher this year.

Mr. Wilson said Mr. Doroski’s demeanor as a coach and teacher is very similar.

“He wants us to work hard,” he said. “If we got a 99, he wants us to ask why we didn’t get 100.”

The quarterback position was something Wilson had little experience in before this season. He had played in PAL leagues during his youth, but never anything close to being a varsity quarterback.

Mr. Doroski was instrumental in helping him learn the position and encourage him along the way, even when things were tough, Mr. Wilson said.

“He guided me through everything,” he said. “Reading defenses, switching plays at the line, he guided me through all that. Sometimes I would get down on myself and he’ll pick my head up.”

Patience is one of Mr. Doroski’s greatest strengths, according to Mr. Reed.

“He’s not an excitable guy,” said the assistant coach, who also coaches varsity boys basketball at Southold. “He can be loud when he wants to be but when it comes to the games he has nice level confidence about himself in order to make the right decision.”

After the Monarchs improved 5-0 in October, Mr. Doroski was selected for the New York Jets’ High School Coach of the Week award.

“He’s been one of the best coaches I’ve been able to work with and I’ve been coaching for a long time,” Mr. Reed said. “He’s just a wonderful person to be around.”

joew@timesreview.com

11/17/12 5:17pm
11/17/2012 5:17 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Reggie Archer, right, runs into Babylon’s Andrew Watson.

SUFFOLK COUNTY DIVISION IV SEMIFINAL | PANTHERS 49, MONARCHS 12

When it comes to Suffolk County Division IV football, Babylon is the benchmark. With some exceptions mixed in here and there, it has been that way for a long time.

The record speaks for itself. Over the course of its proud history, Babylon has won four Long Island championships and eight county crowns. The Panthers have played in 18 county finals in 20 years. Appearances in county finals this time of the year have become the norm for Babylon.

“We want to do it for the people who wore the jersey before us,” Babylon quarterback Nick Santorelli said. “Every year in, year out, we hold ourselves to that high standard. There’s no other Babylon. We’re Babylon. That’s who we are.”

Undefeated Babylon was a winner once again on Saturday, this time at the expense of Bishop McGann-Mercy. Santorelli threw for two touchdowns and ran for another two as top-seeded Babylon rolled to a 49-12 win in a Division IV semifinal on its home field. The Panthers (10-0) will play No. 2 Mount Sinai (9-1) in the county final next weekend at Stony Brook University.

The defeat brought an end to McGann-Mercy’s most successful season in decades. No. 5 McGann-Mercy (7-3), which was seeded 12th in a preseason coaches poll, was coming off a thrilling first-round upset of Hampton Bays. McGann-Mercy’s first playoff win since 1991 gave the Monarchs seven wins on the season, their highest total since 1978.

“We’re excited about what we did this year,” said Jeff Doroski, who is in his second year as McGann-Mercy’s head coach. “I’m going to tell these guys and continue to tell them they’ve done great things for Mercy football. They put us back on the map. They generated a buzz and excitement among our school community. … I really couldn’t be more proud of this group.”

Bishop McGann-Mercy wideout Christian Reyes said: “This season’s been great. It’s a total turnaround from the last couple of years. This is, I think, our best season ever.”

As one might have expected, heavily favored Babylon took a lot of the suspense out of the game early, surging to a 22-0 lead in the opening 7 minutes 24 seconds and holding a commanding 42-6 advantage by halftime.

“We came out pumped up, and we just beat them right from the start,” said Babylon running back/linebacker Eric Schweitzer.

The game’s first play from scrimmage resulted in a Babylon touchdown. Santorelli lofted a pass down the left side that Schweitzer collected for a 65-yard connection 17 seconds into the game.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Pat Marelli of Bishop McGann-Mercy stops Babylon ball carrier Ryan McSweeney. Marelli made seven solo tackles and assisted on two others.

Santorelli completed all three of his passes, two for touchdowns. The other touchdown pass was a 31-yarder to Jake Carlock.

Luke Zappia ran for another two Babylon touchdowns, and Schweitzer produced one himself. Schweitzer had 112 yards from 12 carries.

Babylon’s defense was dominant, holding McGann-Mercy to only one first down and 91 yards of offense. The Monarchs went 0 for 8 on third-down conversion attempts and 0 for 3 on fourth downs.

The first McGann-Mercy touchdown, with 4:19 left in the first quarter, came on a strange play. Tom Kent of McGann-Mercy received Alex Malhas’ kickoff and carried the ball forward before fumbling. Reyes collected the bouncing ball around the McGann-Mercy 40-yard line and ran it in for a touchdown.

McGann-Mercy’s second touchdown came with 6:58 left in the third quarter. Reggie Archer broke through the middle and tore 66 yards for the score.

The McGann-Mercy defense was led by Jack Strnad (seven solo tackles, three assisted) and Pat Marelli (seven solo tackles, two assisted).

McGann-Mercy might be the surprise team of Division IV this year, but Babylon wasn’t about to overlook the Monarchs.

“We don’t really care about their name, who they are or where they’re from,” Santorelli said. “We just play like it’s any other game. We play like it’s Sinai, like it’s Glenn. We just went out there and gave it everything we got. We didn’t take them lightly at all.”

Babylon overcame a 13-0 halftime deficit to defeat Mount Sinai, 22-16, during the regular season. The Panthers are two wins away from becoming the first Babylon team to go undefeated in a season since the 2002 team went 11-0.

“I told these kids they could be immortal,” said Rick Punzone, whose 10-year record as Babylon’s coach is 85-19 (.817). “You know, you’re 12 and 0, who knows? You could go down as one of the best teams in Babylon history.”

What was the best thing to come out of this season for the Monarchs?

Doroski answered, “The best thing is the memories that these guys will have for the rest of their life.”

bliepa@timesreview.com

11/10/12 10:28pm
11/10/2012 10:28 PM

DIVISION IV PLAYOFFS  |  MONARCHS 22, BAYMEN 21

McGann-Mercy head coach Jeff Doroski is no stranger to Long Island football. He’s coached with the big dogs like Longwood and Riverhead. He’s coached in a Long Island championship.

Still, few games in his career could match what unfolded Saturday afternoon against Hampton Bays in the first round of the Division IV playoffs.

“This is one of the best football games I’ve ever been a part of,” Doroski said.

The underdog Monarchs, a team no one gave any thought to at the beginning of the season, pulled of a stunning 22-21 Division IV victory, the first playoff win for the program since 1991. It was the seventh win of the season for the fifth-seeded Monarchs, a total they haven’t matched since 1978.

And they did it with one final defensive play to seal the win.

In a back-and-forth game where the offenses came to life in the fourth quarter, the Baymen scored on a 30-yard pass play with 1:30 left in the fourth quarter. It cut the Monarchs’ lead to one at 22-21. The Baymen, who converted an extra point kick and a two-point conversion in the game, only needed to kick the point after to be likely headed to overtime.

Instead, they went for the win.

Quarterback Justin Carbone doubles as the Baymen’s kicker. He lined up as if they Baymen would kick, but instead they snapped the ball directly to Carbone.

It was the same play the Baymen had successfully used after their previous touchdown.

Only this time, the Monarchs were ready.

Carbone rolled out looking to pass. But the Monarchs stayed disciplined on defense and didn’t allow any receivers to spring free. Carbone had to try to run it in but couldn’t reach the end zone before getting tackled by the Mercy defense, effectively sealing the victory for the Monarchs.

“We were a little bit surprised that they didn’t kick to tie it to go into overtime,” Doroski said. “But we were prepared for the two-point conversion. We’ve watched them on film and they’ve run a couple two-point conversions from that spot.”

The win sends the Monarchs into the semifinals next weekend against No. 1 Babylon, one of only two undefeated teams left in Suffolk County along with Sayville in Division III.

The Monarchs admittedly felt like the underdogs going into Saturday’s game. Hampton Bays (6-3) was coming off a hard-fought game against Mount Sinai (the No. 2 seed in the division) while the Monarchs got beaten up by East Hampton (the No. 8 seed).

“Some people looked at us and said it’s nice, those guys had a good season, but they’re going to be one and done in the playoffs,” Doroski said.

The Monarchs took a different approach.

“We thought we could play with anybody,” Doroski said. “We went into today and said, “Why not us?’ ”

The Monarchs got huge performances on the ground from halfback Tom Kent and quarterback Asaiah Wilson. Kent rushed for 131 yards and the deciding touchdown. He scored on an eight-yard run with 3:10 left in the fourth quarter to make it a 20-15 game. The Monarchs went for two to try to extend the lead to seven and Wilson ran the ball into the end zone.

Halfback Reggie Archer, who got most of the carries this season, missed the team’s final game of the regular season with an injury. While he was back Saturday, the Monarchs had him focus more on defense and left the running game to Kent and Wilson. Archer had eight carries for only 11 yards.

“Kent played out of his mind,” Doroski said. “He ran the ball really well.”

Wilson had a season-high 16 carries and rushed for 79 yards. He scored the Monarchs’ first two touchdowns on one-yard runs.

“His development over the course of the year has been fantastic,” Doroski said. “This game really was his best game we’ve seen him play. He ran the ball very hard today, he made big plays when we needed him to.”

All season Doroski was waiting and hoping to see his team put together a complete effort from start to finish.

It took until Nov. 10, but it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Now the Monarchs will still be playing football the weekend before Thanksgiving, which normally is the date for the county finals.

“It’s kind of a dream season,” Doroski said. “You can’t script it. We have exceeded our expectations.”

joew@timesreview.com

10/15/12 4:00pm
10/15/2012 4:00 PM

BOB LIEPA FILE PHOTO | Mercy football coach Jeff Doroski was selected by the New York Jets for a Coach of the Week Award.

McGann-Mercy football coach Jeff Doroski was selected for the New York Jets High School Coach of the Week Award, the team announced Friday.

Doroski will receive $1,000 to benefit the football program as well as a certificate from the Jets.

In his second season as the head coach of Mercy, Doroski has guided the Monarchs to a 5-1 start. Mercy was 5-0 for the first time since 1976 before falling to Shoreham-Wading River Friday night.

The Monarchs, a preseason No. 12 seed, are currently in sixth place in the Division IV power rankings. Four other teams have identical 5-1 records. One of those teams, The Stony Brook School, will host the Monarchs this Friday in a pivotal D-IV game. The Monarchs will need a win to have a shot at snagging one of the top four seeds in the playoffs to earn a home game.

Click here to read the official announcement on Doroski’s Coach of the Week Award.